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More Creative Cycling-Focused TV Content Is Needed

The head of Flanders Classic, Tomas Van Den Spiegel, recently suggested that the answer to getting more fans interested in the sport would be – in effect – to simply show less of the sport. By cutting the length of broadcasts and only showing the final hour of each race, he suggested that races could capitalize on society’s shrinking attention span. It is telling when a key stakeholder essentially implies that their product is so boring that they need to spare the fans from viewing it. Van Der Spiegel is correct that the sport needs to evolve its broadcast product and presents valid points, but simply reducing the broadcast content to show just the sprint finish isn’t the answer. Instead, all stakeholders should be looking at how to modify events to make them more compelling, and broadcasters should look at new and more creative ways of condensing and packaging the whole...

The Invisible Return of Pro Cycling

This past weekend, real-world professional road cycling returned, in the form of the Slovenian national road racing championships. After months of virtual events, some of the world’s best riders lined up to race — outside, on the road, and in front of fans. Primoz Roglic, a favorite for the 2020 Tour de France, rode away from the rising star and countryman Tadej Pogacar to win in thrilling fashion on the race’s summit finish. However, unlike the professional European soccer leagues, this return to live racing wasn’t marked by any highly publicized and triumphant kickoff. In fact, it was run with no television coverage at all outside of Slovenia, and it took a backseat in the English-language cycling media to the latest Everesting attempts and team sponsorship rumors. Indeed, numerous virtual racing events held during the lockdown over the past few months have been given far more...

Climate Change and Endurance Sports

Sporting events are increasingly experiencing the consequences of climate change and the threat of extreme weather events. Although the COVID-19 pandemic is not a result or necessarily a reflection of climate change, it is neatly serving to illustrate both society’s impact on and reaction to climate change. With a higher frequency of event disruptions for pro cycling – which is dependent on its “outdoor arena” – what impacts can cyclists expect in the future, how can we physiologically adjust to these changes, and how can the sport navigate a successful future? This was originally published on Velonews, continue reading it here. If you want to read more of our pieces, check out our full Velonews article library. By Dr. William Apollo and Steve Maxwell, June 24th,...

A Missed Warning Signal

This was originally published on Velonews, continue reading it here. If you want to read more of our pieces, check out our full Velonews article library. The individual time trial at the Tour de France on the shores of Lac de Vassiviere, in 1995, suggests a simple way to effectively police the peloton and make the sport more exciting at the same time. The recent ESPN “30 For 30” documentary on Lance Armstrong may have been intended as a character study, but Director Marina Zenovich also provided some new and deeper insights into professional cycling’s doping culture – and how the sport ignored many warning signs and institutional failures. Pro cycling’s reputation remains shaky in the public eye as a result, even though it has arguably innovated and implemented more sweeping measures to control doping than most other sports. These new insights should not be overlooked as we...

Anti-Doping During the COVID-19 Lockdown

As the 2020 Tour de France looms less than three months away a skeptic could be excused for wondering if the current COVID-19 lockdown period offers a one-time opportunity for would-be dopers in the sport. All the riders have been at home by themselves, very little testing has been conducted, and everyone knows the proposed date on which the racing calendar will restart. This seems like a dream set of circumstances for those who would try to cheat the system. While anti-doping agencies around the world are striving to adapt to the “new normal” with various innovations in remote and virtual testing, will it be enough to ensure clean racing in the months ahead? The president of the UCI, David Lappartient, recently underlined the fragility of anti-doping in pro cycling by pointing out that out-of-competition testing capacity has dropped by about 95 percent in recent weeks. A number of top...

Examining EF Pro Cycling’s 2019 ‘Alternative Calendar’

When the EF Pro Cycling team joined forces with Rapha a couple of years ago and first announced their plans for a so-called “alternative calendar,” it got a decidedly mixed response. Elite pro riders taking time off to go to local mass participation events like Dirty Kanza and Leadville? What if they won the event – how popular was that going to be amongst the crowd of amateur enthusiasts? Or what if they showed up and didn’t win – they’re professionals after all? What if someone got injured when they were off on one of these larks, and couldn’t participate in their regular WorldTour schedule – what were sponsors going to say then? To many skeptics, there seemed to be a lot more questions than answers. But after one year of the “alt-cal,” a retrospective look suggests that the program was actually a resounding success. And before the COVID-19 era set in, the team was looking to expand...